There’s something about a wedding veil that feels quintessentially bridal, and many people would say that draping that elegant piece of fabric down your back is the moment your bridal attire becomes wedding-worthy. But despite the fact that it’s been around for centuries, this classic headpiece isn’t a requirement for your nuptials.
For modern brides, wedding veils are synonymous with an outdated tradition that can detract from their overall wedding ensemble or theme. “I think the importance of a bride to look modest in the eyes of her spouse has become somewhat archaic,” fashion designer Andrea Pitter says. Choosing another accessory gives you the opportunity to express your individual style, build upon your theme, or give guests a glimpse into your relationship. “Wearing something other than a veil represents choice,” Pitter explains. “While I love a good veil, I love freedom more.”
Meet the Expert
Andrea Pitter is a fashion designer and the CEO of Pantora Bridal. She’s been working in the bridal fashion industry for 15 years.
If you’ve decided that a wedding veil isn’t the right fit for you, there are countless alternatives that feel more contemporary and definitely don’t skimp on style. From glittery tiaras to vibrant flower crowns, there are many ways to reimagine and reinterpret that standard bridal accessory.
Wondering how to pull off a veil replacement? “The best way to style anything is with personal style,” Pitter notes. “Authenticity always shines the brightest.”
For more ideas and inspiration, we’ve rounded up 10 unique alternatives to the traditional wedding veil that will elevate your look, no matter your bridal style.
A Princess-Worthy Tiara
By perching a glittery crown atop your head, you’ll transform into royalty in a mere instant. Although a diamond-embellished crown is the expected look, there are so many unique designs to choose from based on your bridal style.
If you’re a minimalist, dress up a simple slip wedding dress with a dainty pearl crown. A gold crown with a leaf or floral motif is the perfect touch for boho brides with flowy dresses and wildflower bouquets. For modern brides, a bold crown covered in colorful gemstones will enhance a trendy mini dress and sparkly stilettos. You can also use your wedding venue to choose a princess-inspired accessory that best suits you. Simple tiaras will complement low-maintenance backyard bashes, while show-stopping crowns are ideal for glamorous black-tie functions.
A Chic Hat
From stylish fedoras to royal-inspired fascinators, hats are a fashionable way to dress up your wedding dress. Whether you’re hosting a destination wedding or an at-home gathering, a hat will modernize any aesthetic. For brides who don’t want to stray too much from tradition, sport a white hat with a silk ribbon. If you're hosting a country farm wedding, build upon your venue by throwing on a cowboy hat. An earthy fedora topped with flowers is best for boho nuptials. And, if you’re swapping vows in the summer or by the beach, don a straw hat. As a plus, the accessory will shade the sun from your eyes! For those who want a special touch, you can even customize your hat by engraving your monogram or wedding date. The best part? You get to rewear your hat long after the wedding is over!
A Trendy Headband
Headbands are the bridal hair accessory of the year! They’re versatile, affordable, and timeless. Not to mention, they’ll keep your hair out of your face! Snapping on these statement pieces will elevate any outfit and allow you to express your individual style. Looking for something timeless? Try a white headband fixed with a bow or bedecked in pearls.
Want to be dressed to the nines? Go all out with a bejeweled band or a luxe velvet one. Throwing an outdoor wedding with an organic palette? Don a headband coated in vivacious blooms or a floral-printed one. Headbands also make an excellent after-party accessory since they’ll give your attire a playful flair.
A Sparkly Headpiece
An ornate hair accessory is perfect for glamorous or romantic brides who plan to say “I do” at luxurious ballrooms or opulent chateaus. For those with the “more is more” mentality, match your crystal headpiece with a sparkly wedding dress, diamond drop earrings, a diamond tennis bracelet, and bejeweled heels. Go full glam with false lashes, defined contour, and a sharp smokey eye. If you want the shimmery piece to make a statement on its own, dress it down with a sleek column gown, white heels, and minimal jewelry. Whether you choose an elegant updo or loose waves, the beaded hair accessory will demand everyone's attention.
A Lush Flower Crown
Since flowers are such an important decoration on your special day, why not wear them in your hair too? A halo of blooms is ideal for romantic or bohemian brides who want an effortless look. If you’re getting married in the summer, flower crowns will give your attire a garden-fresh feel. Make an impression with bold and colorful crowns composed of large blooms, or stick to simplicity with a single strand of small petals. To maintain cohesion, select the same kind of flowers in your wedding palette that you’re using in your bridal bouquet and reception centerpieces. For the ultimate pairing, style your locks with a fishtail braid or cascading curls.
A Dainty Bow
Another hot bridal accessory at the moment is a bridal bow. Elegant, delicate, and romantic, these hair pieces will tie any look together. A satin, ribbon, or velvet fabric will elevate every bridal style, and you can even embellish it with beaded or sparkly accents for a glamorous edge. Of course, white feels the most bridal, but fastening on a bow provides a fantastic opportunity to add a pop of color to your ensemble. You can also go the sentimental route and use a piece of your mother or grandmother’s dress or veil as a bow. To really show it off, tie it around a chic ponytail or a sleek half-up, half-down hairstyle.
A Statement-Making Cape
If you want the upscale, draped look of a veil without the old-fashioned symbolism behind it, consider wearing a cape. Bridal capes exude the same level of romance as a veil, but they feel more modern. From cropped to floor-length, capes come in a wide variety of styles. Play around with jaw-dropping details, such as pearls, crystals, fringe, or feathers. For garden soirées, opt for a floral print. To supplement your walk down the aisle at a winter wedding, don a fur cape. Romantic brides will fall in love with a tulle style trimmed with lace. All you have to do is slip it on over your gown, and you’ll get an instant wedding wardrobe upgrade.
An Eye-Catching Hair Pin
Long veils can overshadow your dress and conceal key details, such as an open back or a trail of buttons. Instead, snapping on a hair pin will add some pizzazz to your attire without consuming it. Whether you’re rocking a chic topknot, a low bun, or soft waves, a stunning clip will round off any style. To execute this look, you can either wear a cluster of small pins or one large pin. Throwing a garden gathering? Try a floral-shaped clip. Planning a glamorous dinner party? Consider one covered in crystals. If you’re preferential to the classics, sport one with pearls. Hint at a noteworthy moments spent with your significant other by choosing a unique shape special to you.